My thoughts on the Lifestyle Lift
"What do you think of Lifestyle Lifts?"
This is a question regularly asked of me by patients who are considering facelifts. The reason is clear: the widespread and pervasive television and print advertisements extolling the virtues of this supposedly simple and quick procedure, complete with before and after photographs illustrating dramatic rejuvenative results.
So, what do I think of this constantly publicized procedure? The short answer is, "Not much, because I don't know what it is." The long answer prompts another question: What is a facelift?
There are many facelift techniques that go by a variety of names. No matter what they are called, their objective is the same: to rejuvenate the facial appearance in the lower two-thirds of the face and in the neck-- to "turn back the clock." The problems that these procedures are designed to address may be caused by skin or muscle laxity in the face and neck, or fat excess or loss, or any combination of these. Some patients may need only minor correction, others require more extensive procedures. If there is significant damage to the skin surface, additional resurfacing procedures may be needed. Losses of soft tissue, fat, or bony deficiencies may require augmentation with fillers or fat, or placement of implants. What this means is that facial aging changes are complex, multifactorial, and different in each patient, so it should be obvious that one procedure does not serve all needs.
The many variations of facelift technique have developed because new techniques and their modifications are constantly presented and debated at professional meetings and in medical journals. These techniques continually evolve and are improved because of the willingness to share knowledge in these ways. Personally, the facelift techniques I now use are personalized to match the needs of each patient, and continue to evolve from the basic techniques I learned at New York University 26 years ago. I find that this effort to continually refine and improve this operation leads to the best results and the happiest patients.
In contrast, the Lifestyle Lift is a trademarked procedure developed by an ear, nose and throat surgeon (otolaryngologist). It is heavily advertised in a variety of different media. Attempts to learn exactly what is done in this procedure are unavailable to those of us not in the Lifestyle Lift "club." However, because there is no magic involved in facelift procedures, examination of their website and patient photographs leads me to believe that the basic operation is a minimally invasive procedure that does little more than skin tightening (and often costs as much or more than a more effective "open source" procedure.) In addition, many of the patients shown in the before and after photographs have had additional procedures performed, which further raises the costs.
Finally, a Google search of "Lifestyle Lift problems" reveals a large number of dissatisfied patients, and the company that owns the copyrighted name has had a number of legal problems in several states related to false advertising claims. On the other hand, while no surgical procedure can ever be problem-free, a facelift that is matched to the specific needs of each patient, performed by a competent plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, should very rarely be the cause of significant complications or an unhappy patient.